Houston Bowery photo and Late Confessions photo by Monica Müller
All other photos provided courtesy of SIMJEE TEXTOR Management
How and Nosm – Late Confessions February 1 – February 23, 2013
Jonathan Levine Pop Up 557 W. 23rd Street, NYC 10011
The mystique surrounding Spanish-born, German-raised twin artist brothers How and Nosm (Raoul and Davide Perre) is unavoidable. Their latest solo offering, Late Confessions showing at Jonathan Levine Gallery’s pop-up endeavor is uncomparable.
They took time out of their terrifically busy schedules to give us the lowdown on their artistic origins, their connections to the world of art, and the serendipitous nature behind much of what they do, including their name and signature color palette.
Big thanks to How and Nosm for sharing a portion of their path with us…
How did you guys get started as artists? And, take us through the process of how you landed on your distinct, now famous, color palette…
We started drawing when we were very young. We would sit with our mother and watch her draw. Eventually, we started drawing by ourselves, copying photos and refining our skills by drawing almost daily. We developed an interest in art in general. Later we were introduced to tagging through skateboarding. A close friend showed us graffiti pieces from Spray Can Art and Subway Art. Soon after, we painted our first pieces illegally and from that point on, we kept going. The limited color palette started about 4 years ago in Rio and the main reason was to be economical. Paint can be a huge expense but also, carrying too much can limit where you go, especially when you’re traveling and constantly moving. We just wanted to paint as much as we could, so by using a white bucket of paint and adding just red and black, we were already saving a lot of money. From then on, it was just a matter of time before we were covering hundreds of walls with these colors.
Tell us about Late Confessions and for those who won’t be able to
attend and see the exhibition in person, how would you describe it?
Paint us a mental picture…
This time around, we worked with different materials as well as realistic backgrounds, which we feel shows our work in a different light. We have a great variety of paintings that are a reflection of many memories and tales from our lives, without being too depressing. Our intention is to take you on a joyful journey through our complex world.
Since the show was planned for NY, we had the advantage of being locals and were able to work in the space weeks in advance, building three site-specific installations and a mural that transformed the entire gallery space into a 3-D version of one of our paintings.
While We Were Away is also on display through March 2nd in San
Francisco. How did this international group show come together and what were some of the highlights for you?
We have known the people at White Walls for a while but never worked with them before on any exhibition or project. It seemed like a good selection of artists for this particular group show, so we decided to be part of it.
How did you end up in New York, and how do you like it there?
We visited NY for the first time back in ’97 and stayed with some friends in the South Bronx. Shortly after, we met legendary TATS Cru who we got along well with and started collaborating on several walls together. In ’99 we moved to NY permanently and have lived there ever since. We were able to find the right balance between the constant buzz of the city and the peace and harmony in our studio.
Tell us about your recent experiences in Miami the past few years and
how you hooked up with Vhils for the amazing Cut Out For You
collaboration. The final result is absolutely stunning and
Miami has treated us very well the last couple of years and we were able to do some of our best murals down there. On most occasions we work closely with the Goldman Family and The Wynwood Walls Projects, and this is how the collaboration with Vhils happened. The wall is part of the Wynwood Walls and Vhils had done his section prior to us. We were asked to paint along both sides of his work to prevent the walls from being vandalized and Vhils seemed to be more than pleased that we were chosen by the Goldman family and Wynwood Walls Arts Manager, Meghan Coleman. We have followed Vhils’ work for quite a while and are big fans. There is more collaboration planned with him later this year in Portugal.
Where is your favorite place to display your work?
We started to enjoy building sculptures and installations quite a bit, although we still enjoy our murals in the streets that are visible for everybody and free to the public. We have bills to pay and have to provide for our families, so we split our time between studio work and outdoor murals.
What would you like viewers to take away from your work?
We’d like them to spend some time with one of our pieces to escape thinking about their everyday lives and issues. We like to take people on a trip through our world in our paintings.
Your style has a feel that I think could stand up strongly in any era,
at any time, in any place. The timeless effect of your work, is that
something you think about or have thought about during your career?
No, it all developed naturally and we are glad you see it that way because we haven’t thought of our work as timeless at this point
Do you want to say anything about The Brazil Diaries?
200 walls in a city we love, but don’t live in – a city that has given us a huge opportunity to develop our style quickly.
Tell us about the origin of the name, How and Nosm.
They are just letters we threw together because we knew how to draw them better than other letters of the alphabet. I think we came up with them after we ran into some trouble with the law around ’94 so we just picked new names to be able to continue painting illegally without having the vandal squad on our ass.
Have you guys always created together or does some rare solo work
exist from each of you?
We always created together but there is work we created apart from each other. Nobody is able to tell the difference, even when we do our names, since we paint each other’s name.
What’s next for How and Nosm?
A mural at Pfizer College, several trips to places we haven’t been yet and a few surprises.
Without getting too existential here, what type of legacy would you
like to leave behind in this world when it’s all said and done?
To be remembered as artists that contributed to this movement and new art form, for many years to come.